Participation in the Integrated Research for Disaster Risk (IRDR) Meeting and International Conference in Chengdu, China

From October 15-17 2018, two CCOUC members Ms Gloria Chan and Ms Asta Man joined the 20th Meeting of the IRDR Scientific Committee as observers and participated in the subsequent International Conference on Technology Contributions for Informed National Policy-Making and Action for the Implementation of the Sendai framework. As an IRDR International Centre of Excellence (ICoE), CCOUC was able to observe the ongoing work of other IRDR programmes such as the International Programme Offices and IRDR Working Groups, as well as the future directions of IRDR. Representatives from the UNISDR Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) also participated in the conference.

During the conference, Ms Chan shared CCOUC’s recent and ongoing international projects such as the outcome of the Research Summit on Health-Related Emergency and Disaster Risk Management in July 2018, launching of the new online course on sign languages for disaster settings, and the upcoming Global Heat Health Forum this December in Hong Kong. In particular, she highlighted the engagement of overseas IRDR Young Scientists and ICoE participants in Hong Kong.

The highlight of the conference was the three parallel breakout sessions to discuss the following topics:

  1. review and contextualisation of the science & technology road map and implementation strategy

  2. Sendai new hazards-structure and guiding questions on NATECH (Natural Hazards Induced Technological Disasters)

  3. Synthesis system of science and technology contributing to national platform

This fostered discussions on how science and technology can assist each topic on implementing the Sendai Framework Target E: “Increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies by 2020”. These included identifying the research gaps, how those gaps can be filled and how science can reach at-risk populations and policymakers. From the discussions, an agreement emerged that disaster risks should be the focus, rather than just hazards, especially since hazards are rarely single events, but often complex or cascading series of events. There was also an emphasis on promoting interdisciplinary coherence within existing science and technology initiatives (including Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change).